Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Actual Sioux Falls in the City of Sioux Falls

One of our favorite stops while in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is at the real Sioux Falls which provides the name for the city. Located very close to downtown, the falls are now in a great park setting.

 The park provides an extensive walking area along the falls which allow you to see the falls from several different vantage points.

 The falls are on the Big Sioux River and pass through this extensive area of rose quartz rock. This sold rock is why the river falls though this area as it has withstood the erosion for centuries.

 Not surprisingly the falling water attracted interest from folks in the area who saw it as an opportunity to generate power for a grist mill and later, for electricity. In fact, just to the left of Orinda is an old turbine house that was used to power the flour mill built here.

This is the remains of the Queen Bee Flour Mill which was place in operation in 1881 and powered by the river. The mill was some 7 stories high and dominated the landscape here next to the river. 

This is the foundation for the large pipe that channeled water into the turbine house seen in the distance. The water dropped about 50 feet which was sufficient to provide about 800 hp for the operation of the mill. 

Here, Orinda provides a better view of the pipe support and gives an idea as to the size of the pipe and the distance that it ran to get to the flour mill. Unfortunately, the water volume was not sufficient to fully power the mill and it went bankrupt in 1883. The mill operated on and off for the next 40 years or so, but never fulfilled its hoped for production. 

This picture shows what the mill complex used to look like and gives an idea as to how the mill operated with the water feed pipe dropping into the turbine. The turbine was connected to a series of gears and shafts which then drove the mill. 

We are visiting in late summer and the water flow is at a low point, but it is still a beautiful place to visit as Rick and Orinda verify here.

The largest drop on the Falls is about 25', with a total drop of over 50'. At high water, the river expands well beyond the normal course seen here, and covers all the rock shown above. That is an impressive sight to see. 

 Orinda really enjoyed our visit to the Sioux Falls on this beautiful day. We are always surprised to find visitors to the area that have not heard of these great falls and would encourage anyone to pay them a visit.